The Loud Women Festival has been created by Cassie Fox, a musician concerned and irritated that her band were the only women in the back room of a gig or bottom of the bill. So Loud Women was invented. Today/tonight, Cassie and crew have an abundance of talent performing for all to see in the DIY space, which celebrates its two-year anniversary, coinciding with this being the second Loud Women festival.
And we, at The Moshville Times are here.
At the back of New Cross Gate, or South Bermondsey or another area. Being an East Londoner, this is foreign territory, twenty-five minutes walking distance from the nearest tube station. We walk and walk until out front of a building is a blackboard emblazoned with the words ‘Loud Women Festival’, mmmm think it’s a sign telling us we’re here.
Inside is Tome Records, a shop selling a variety of vinyl… lovely vinyl. This is a haven for the many to start, continue or flourish their collection.
At the entrance, Cassie Fox and her amazing group of volunteers greet us with a smile and a stamp on the hand and in we go. The bar stage is filling up for opening act, Jelly Cleaver. This elegant performer starts the day/night gathering – a hard task but Jelly didn’t wobble. The great thing is, Jelly stayed around after her set watching others perform.
The next few hours we moved from the bar to the main stage. Every half an hour a band or a singer songwriter is scheduled. Beverly Kills, a pop punk four-piece from Cambridge open the main stage. Their energy is infectious. Lead vocalist Georgie powers through the songs, even after a late night the night before. We found out Elisa, the bassist, came off night shift at 6:30am this morning and made her way to this show. You wouldn’t have noticed that watching her on stage.
A plethora of talent garnishes the festival throughout the day.
Lea Andrews took the bar stage with a chilled experienced vibe. Followed by Katherine Christie Evans AKA Velodrome at 3pm, a mask-wearing musician who intrigues the crowd with experimental rock giving us tracks “City Girl” and “His Physique” to name a couple.
Let me quickly tell you about my love of food. Food is a great accompaniment to music, so The Loud Women crew fulfilled this urge. To the side of the bar stage two lovely ladies hold it together with vegetarian Turkish, Mediterranean grub… yeah, vegetarian food and I tried it, rude not to, right? Well I did, two platefuls and it danced in my mouth. Gonul, the owner, with help from Sade smile throughout the day, dancing when they could, feeding us when we cried out for it. Check out 1001 Anatolian Delights and you will know peace and pleasure.
Back to music with someone different. In a Savage t-shirt and disco silver leggings is Grace Savage, a four-time UK beatbox champion. Cassie announces Grace as seen on Cbeebies. This is an open mouth experience. Grace uses her vocal chords like magic. Her voice an instrument for the next near thirty minutes. The power of a loop pedal and the noises from her mouth make her own band. Without the use of a mic Grace performs “Madusa”, her single, in an acoustic setting. Moving her mouth like Jones from the Police Academy films, Savage gives SK Shlomo a run for his money. A highlight right here.
Taking a breather and it’s only 3.30pm. She Makes War comes on the main stage, an experienced multi-talented instrumentalist who’s performed with The Levellers to name but one. Laura Kidd AKA She Makes War has a presence and her talent takes her around the world playing thousands of gigs, and right now bleeds warmth to us in the crowd. A swelling audience for “Steal My Heart” along with a ditty about how she got her megaphone. You’ll need to sign up to her website for the story. It’s a privilege to finally witness She Makes War. Someone I’ve been wanting to see for a while.
Holding court on the bar stage are two-piece Baby Arms, two likeable musicians showing off their indie style tunes. Up on the main stage are an Irish band who live in Berlin, Party Fears. Lead singer Maggie Devlin tells us she’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the sweatiest person ever. I disagree, she has yet to meet me.
If you love a keytar then you’ll be pleased to hear and watch East London’s very own Hannah Lucy, AKA Gaptooth, a sharp lyricist who’s been called the female Billy Bragg.
At 5:30pm a superb experience and a huge surprise. This is Thunder on the Left – a three piece based in East London explode my ear drums with blistering guitar riffs, Adam on bass holds a solo as Arun the drummer keeps the energy together. Carla the vocalist and guitarist is exceptional, mind blowing with huge white hair, jean shorts and a Lidl t-shirt certainly stands out as her comrades wear black, have long dark hair and powerful beards.
Taking a deep breath and having a sit down. No more food, just more black coffee and some funky new Coca Cola. A rest is needed, my feet are hurting, I don’t like to moan, which is a shame as I’m really good at it.
Time for some soul… time for Lilith Ai, another change of style at the festival. Lilith Ai holds moments like they last forever. I’m really impressed with her, and an eye needs to be kept on Lilith Ai for now. She has performed at Glastonbury which was my introduction to her music – a great bit of booking by the Loud Women crew.
At 6:30pm a different entity to the previous main stage band. The Baby Seals play “Nipple Hair” and “You’re in Porn”; these grabbed me as they informed us of the ideas behind the tracks. I’m not gonna share that with you, you’ll have to see them live. One member hasn’t touched alcohol in some time, but she sips on a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale. As you may remember The Baby Seals have a split single with Beverley Kills, this is interesting. Catch them on their Vibrations UK tour in October.
Last performers on the bar stage are Gemma and Maria of Norwich’s Sink Ya Teeth, an electronic duo who add another dynamic to the festival. I sat near the back feeling a mixture of Eurythmics maybe with Grace Jones.
The sound’s been exceptional. A standing ovation to the sound engineer.
Flowing through to the main stage are Liines. A three piece post punk band who’re touted as one of the hottest bands to come out of Manchester. Led by Zoe McVeigh, she and bandmates Steph Angel and Leila O’Sulivan put on a sweaty, blistering show.
Next up, Guttfull, featuring Cassie Fox and her valiant cohorts. A punk sax band with plenty of punk attitude. The lead vocalist has plenty of presence. Well, saying that, they all have presence. This is a fun show and captures the imagination and passion they all have for their trade.
Dunno about you lot, but I’m shattered still, a bit of chill time is needed. A few little conversations around the venue or in the chill room. People talk about bands such as Radioactive Rats and New York hardcore legends Sick of it All. It’s a great place to hear of other bands and meet new people. The vibe’s friendly with a lot of pleasant people.
Time for some poetry by poet Janine Booth. She flows passionately about working night shift on the underground and Boris Johnson. Behind Janine are Scotland’s Nicky and Jo D’arc, The Twistettes setting up their equipment and ready to explode their groove riffs. Another good gig and for me, another band I will check out and watch again. Time has been overrunning, but the two show us what they are about – heavy rock and there is only two of them.
It’s gone 10pm. I’m not gonna lie. My feet still hurt, my ears are ringing and next up are a band I’ve been hearing a lot about. A four-piece raging feminist post-hardcore punk band called Petrol Girls. Their energy bleeds out and they are extreme, the ferocity of this lot is a great sight. Hold your breath if you like bands such as Sick of it All.
Hands Off Gretel have been roaming the venue for the past couple of hours, readying themselves for their slot. Hands off Gretel shirts are taking over the venue and to be honest right about now you lot already know about their live shows.
So, it is time to go home. The Moshville Times photographer extraordinaire received a massage in the chill room. I ate plenty of food and wondered if this ringing in my ear will ever stop.
Cassie Fox, the guv, excelled herself putting this together, showcasing a superb mixture of bands/musicians/genres. Grace Savage to Sink Ya Teeth to Lilith Ai to The Baby Seals to Thunder on the Left to Petrol Girls… this has had it all.
Jimi Hendrix once said, “Music is my religion”… even with bad feet.
If you’re a female in a band and want to be heard, sign up to Loud Women, get your music out for all to hear and receive an opportunity many cry out for.
Photos by Katie Frost Photography